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More info on bagels

Rabbi David SperlingTammuz 8, 5780
22
Question
Hello, as Im of the Sephardic nusach, I learned any bread with sugar and or eggs, its considered mezonot, as it takes the position of a cake irrelevant of taste, only just the mear fact that it has sugar, fruit juice and or eggs, its mezzonot. A recipe of 4lib Broun sugar, 150libs of flour 30eggs makes it mezonot. The question arises, on the toppings they put. I heard, that a bagel with toppings of garlic or onion, Is hammotzi, due to the flavor of the toppings. Im not sure as to why it will change the status If the toppings? Thank you.
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, it is difficult for me to answer you with a complete answer – and let me explain why. Your question is based on a halachic ruling that itself is a matter of debate. That being so, it is difficult to answer why the toppings on a bagel would change the blessing on the bagel –if I am not certain that I agree with this ruling at all. (You would do better to ask to Rabbi who gave the ruling in the first place). However, because you raised the question, let me try to outline the issue. The difference between bread (which is ha’motzi) and cake (mezonot) is a fine line. The Shulchan Aruch rules that one defining issue is how sweet the baked goods are. According to the Ashkanazi tradition is the major taste is sweet (such as honey cake) then it is mezonot, but if the major taste is not sweet (even though it is slightly sweet) it is ha’motzi (like sweet challah). However, the Sephardi tradition rules that as long as the sweetness is discernable, even though it is not the major taste, one should say the blessing of mezonot, such as in the case of sweet challah (unless one eats a meals worth of the baked goods, in which case one needs to wash and say ha’motzi over even such sweet baked goods). Now, based on this, if the bagel is sweet, it would fall into this argument. If so, Sephardim would say mezonot (unless one eats a meals worth – about 210-230 grams according to Rav Ovadyah Yosef zt”l. Some authorities rule that “meals worth” is much less than this, or not a measure at all, but rather if they are eaten in place of bread or not). Even if the baked goods are not recognizably sweet, there are opinions that if the liquid component of the dough is made up of a majority of fruit juice, eggs etc, and not water, it would be mezonot despite the taste (see See Shevet Halevi 8:32, 9:44). Based on this, many bagels may be mezonot (again, depending on how much one ate). If so, there it could well be that the recipe for bagels you quote would produce a bagel that is (at least for Sephardim) mezonot. I am unaware as to why the topping would change this ruling. Blessings.
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